On our drive home through the neighborhood last night, I spotted a bird perched on the edge of a rooftop. The size of a robin, I was surprised to see the white breast, and quickly shot a few pictures. The bird had the same markings of a robin, flew like a robin, and exhibited the same foraging behavior searching for worms.
Like the old saying, if it looks like a duck, flies like a duck, it must be a duck.
Yep, it was a robin—a leucistic robin. Or more precisely, a piebald robin.
Leucism is a genetic mutation that only affects a bird’s feather color. There are different variations of leucism. Birds with portions or patches of their feathers without color are called “pied” or “piebald”. Birds with all-white plumage are called “leucistic”.
Leucism vs. Albinism
A leucistic bird is different from an albino bird. Leucistic birds only have color mutations in their feathers, while albino birds have lost color or show pale color in their eyes, beak, feathers, legs, and feet.
Many thanks to my friends and fellow birders Dona and Bob Arthurs, for their help in identifying the bird.